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This is the first of my blog posts where I share my favorite comics, those that inspired me to want to write comics in the first place. I keep trying to tell people who work in the industry that fans don’t care about big events. Even though big crossovers and gimmicks boost sales, they aren’t the stories that fans fall in love with. It is the little moments that touch the heart’s of readers; Fantastic Four #285 was one of those moments.

Sure, it might look like a gimmick cover, but Johnny really does consider retiring. Not because he’s being all bitchy like Peter Parker, but because a boy almost died. Horribly. By lighting himself on fire with jet fuel so he could be like his idol, the Human Torch. Do I have your attention now?

The Beyonder, an omnipotent being who is usually a pain in the ass, plays the role of the angel, showing Johnny a glimpse of the boy’s life. It wasn’t good. Raised in a single parent home, the little boy only had comics to keep him occupied. The kids at school were a bunch of jerks who, unlike kids today, didn’t love superheroes so much.

In the end, Johnny comes to realize that he was an inspiration to the boy, the only thing he had in his life that made him happy. Johnny understands that it is not his fault; the boy had parents who neglected him and the idiot who left the jet fuel lying around is arrested and charged for the crime.

Powerful issue, with no super villains in sight.

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